Saturday, June 23, 2007

Q Station (survival)

Just home from my sleepover at the Quarantine Station, Sydney.

Situated on North Head, this stretch of land holds three unmarked graveyards and a host of ‘haunted’ buildings. Used for over a century to quarantine emigrants and convicts it has housed over 15,000 people and was used following World War I when servicemen returned home with Spanish influenza.

The history of this place is beyond belief. But let me tell you about my adventures the other night.
I rocked up at the Q Station and did an induction and day tour. Then I dumped my stuff in one of the vacant buildings on ‘healthy ground’, my accom for the night, and prepared for a cold and blustery ghost tour. It turns out that there were only two of us booked in, so we got to do things that others normally wouldn’t.

We sat in the dark in the third-class dining hall for approx 15 mins listening for footsteps on the verandah, anything out of place. We did the same at the Isolation building, the Hospital and the Shower Block. All of these buildings come with a long history of reported sightings, so it was nerve-wracking to say the least, especially with the wind battering upon the windows.

The most harrowing part of the night was when I led our small crew down one side of the shower block. (Check out the pic in the gallery, then imagine that in the dark). 60-70 cast iron cubicles, corners everywhere, and before we entered our guide said… “this is where I saw my first ghost”.
So after a cold and spooky night wandering around haunted buildings and unmarked graves, hearing about death, suicide and disease, I was sent off to my vacant house to go to sleep. The glorious views of Sydney and Manly were little comfort, but I survived and am back to post this blog for ya. (check out the other pic in the gallery, the hospital from the wharf).

I really must get busy writing about it now. Next month is Norfolk Island followed by the biggie, Port Arthur in August. Stay tune

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Quarantine Station

Following Elvira the Haunted Hearse last month comes a night for me at the Quarantine Station in Sydney. Operating as, you guessed it, a Quarantine Station for over a century, its buildings housed all the sickies of the colony… people with smallpox, cholera, bubonic plague etc. All those king-hitter diseases. So perhaps its not so strange to expect a few ghosts to be wandering around the grounds.

Ghost tours operate regularly but overnight stays have been unavailable for a few years now. Except for me that is!! I get to stay there next week all by myself.

Check out this link for info on ghosts commonly reported by visitors. Ghosts such as The Chinaman, The Matron, and the little girl with plaits who is still looking for her mother.

If you would like to read some personal accounts from those who have done the Q Station ghost tour, click here…
Now I have two more ghost-poetry stops to go. Stay tune for news on Norfolk Island and then the grand-finale/mother-of-them-all, a night in the Parsonage at Port Arthur.

that's right... your trusty ghost-poet going all the way, for you, for himself, for poetry or simply for death and glory. (god knows why i am doing this!!!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ghost Tape??

A postscript to my night in Elvira The Haunted Hearse.

Click on the link below. It will take you to the Destiny tours site where you can hear a strange sound I recorded. It is still freaking me out. It sounds like a forced, two-syllable whisper. It was such a quiet night and nothing happened for me at all. I was even reluctant to listen back to the tape, certain nothing would be on it. So when I heard this I nearly fell off my chair. (oh and please ignore the photos.)

Have a listen and let me know what you think… it is short and takes nothing to download.

BTW just heard that my poetry was recently commended in the Josephine Ulrick Poetry Prize, and Cable Car of Death won the Crash Test Drama Final, which means you’ll see it at the Short and Sweet Play Festival this December. yay!!

To purchase my first book No Other Life But This ISBN 0734036337 you can order through Five Islands Press. Call Ron on 03 8344 8713 or try Readings or Collected Works.